Sunflowers are a great low maintenance flower to grow, which yields a tasty snack for birds when it’s time to harvest. In reality, you may find that birds often get to your seeds before you have the chance to harvest. The most important time to protect sunflowers is when they are first planted.
Once sunflowers have sprouted, pests tend to leave them alone until it is time to harvest. Below are some of the best ways to protect sunflowers from birds.
If you’re starting to plant sunflowers, one of the most common ways to protect your young seeds is with covers. Seed tunnels are an effective solution to protecting your seedling because they create a physical barrier between the plant and the birds looking to eat them. Seed covers will only be useful for the early stages of growth. After a flower starts growing taller, you will need something else to protect them.
Another effective solution to protect sprouting sunflowers is to encase them in chicken wire, or other lightweight fencing. As the flowers begin to grow, adjust the wire so that the tops are not getting blocked by the wire, as this could damage them. Make sure the plants have enough room so that critters can’t get the flowers close to the wire.
You can also start growing seeds in pots, which works well for smaller varieties that tend to have smaller roots. Fertilize the soil for the most effective growing conditions, and provide the seeds with as much natural sunlight as possible until it’s time to add them to your plot or field.
Protecting Flower Heads
Once you have grown sunflowers, you will need to start thinking about protecting the sunflower head so birds don’t steal the seeds before they are ready to harvest. Some of the most common flower covering materials include:
- Poly Spring garden fleece
- Old pantyhose
These materials work well because they allow light in while providing a fine mesh material that makes it hard for animals to penetrate and snack on your almost ripe seeds. An added benefit of using these fine mesh coverings is they also protect your sunflowers from squirrels and other small critters.
Remember to avoid using plastic bags, as moisture can get caught in the bag and cause mold or rot. Paper bags can work well but don’t allow light in like other materials.
Using another food source nearby is another way to deter birds from snacking on your sunflowers. Distribute bird feeders and sources of water away from your crops. You can also plant decoy plants that birds can eat instead.
Use a Liquid Bird Repellent
The best solution to protecting your sunflowers or any sort of crop is with liquid bird repellent. Avian Control is an EPA-registered liquid bird repellent that is safe for birds, plants, and people. Simply spray or fog your area of choice, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. More information about our products can be found in our shop, or by contacting a sales specialist at 888.868.1982The Best Ways to Protect Sunflowers from Birds